Boonesborough was one in the second wave of townships that South Carolina laid out during the mid-eighteenth century to defend her frontier from the Cherokee. Patrick Calhoun, father of John C. Calhoun, surveyed the 20,500-acre township on the headwaters of Long Cane Creek in 1762. The Cherokee Path crossed near the center of the township, and its northwestern corner approached the present-day town of Due West in Abbeville County. Boonesborough lay between the Carolinians and the Lower Cherokee towns. The majority of the settlers were Irish or Scots-Irish, many of whom came in response to the Bounty Act of 1761, which authorized free land and other settlement incentives.
The genesis of Boonesborough Township lay in the 1761 petition of John Pouag, the Reverend John Baxter, John Greg, John Rae, and David Rae for a grant of forty thousand acres to be reserved for the settlement of Irish immigrants. Pouag and Greg were merchants of Charleston and London, respectively, while Baxter had brought settlers from Belfast to Williamsburg Township. Governor Thomas Boone, for whom the township was named, and the Royal Council authorized the petitioners to select sites for two townships. One became Boonesborough (sometimes called Belfast), and the other became Londonborough. At least sixteen immigrants had land surveyed in the township in 1763, and others followed in 1764 and 1765. Surnames for the early settlers included Seawright, Brown, Hawthorn, Baxter, Templeton, Colvill, McCullough, McCracken, Forsith, Paxton, and Dickson.
Meriwether, Robert L. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.